Let Go

In exactly the same way that birds have to find the courage to let go of a branch in order to actually fly, we must also let go of our emotional branches if we are to experience the exhilaration of soaring to our highest potential in life!

The branches we hold on to are our innermost attachments: our non-foundational beliefs, our bad habits and those memories of the past which keep us stuck. And then there are the outer attachments: they are people, possessions, positions and privileges – to name but a few. We must be aware that as long as we hold onto them, we will actually live in fear (of letting go and loss) and we will never feel the freedom that we all deserve. Once you become aware of those birds and the initial courage they display when they let go of their branches just prior to flying, you will be capable of experiencing life in a totally different way.

This can be your new recipe of how to live a life where you learn to let go of one branch at a time, and learn to have new experiences, one at a time. The birds have found that by letting go of one branch, they are then able to spend the rest of their lives trying many other branches, one branch at a time, and they can enjoy the view from each new vantage point. What a way to live!

Are you actually flying and soaring in your life, or are you stuck on one branch, resenting others as they fly past?

You can do it, go on, just let go!

Remember this – not letting go of old stuff is the same as driving through life with a flat tire on our cars; not stopping to change it; hoping that it will fix itself; pretending that the ride is smooth; knowing that it isn’t; until one day it gets so loud and bumpy that we are forced to stop and take a look, and actually get help!

Advertisements

The Shadow in the Window

*Changing things up a bit todayMoraldiplomat
It’s Sunday…April 30, 2017 Have a comfortable evening.

2 Corinthians 7:1

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

The Shadow in the Window

‘It sat just inside the broken upstairs window, leering at people passing by. An ugly red head with a hooked beak topped shoulders that were hunched in seeming indifference to its repulsive appearance….anyone brave enough to go upstairs would quickly be turned away by the smell. This was home for a vulture family.

The same house also sheltered a small family of people. The diligent housewife cooked, swept and washed; keeping everything clean and tidy- but only downstairs. The hard-working father mowed the lawn and maintained the outbuildings. He never went upstairs either! it made him sick to think of the second story of the house, with its peeling wallpaper and filthy floors. Besides, it was embarrassing to accommodate a disgusting family of vultures. He hoped no visitors ever noticed the shadow lurking in the window.

Unbelievable? Well, I agree. Well would live like that?! But if we think about it, many of us are in the same situation; if we maintain the appearance of a pure life while hiding the putrid presence of sin we are harboring. Our lives are totally cleansed when we accept Christ’s offer of salvation, but we dare not stop there! If our faith doesn’t include continuing victory, we are sure to lose out. The vultures of sin will bring their corruption into our souls and will make the benefits of our salvation of none effect.

All who profess faith in Jesus must allow Him to continue His work of purification and holiness in everyday life. If we are plagued by besetting sin, we need to confess it and cry out for help. The Lord “……is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,…” (Jude 24) Nobody wants vultures in their house amen?’

*Thanks: Benjamin J.

Clay Vessels

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay vessels. It was like someone had rolled balls of clay and left them out in the sun to bake.

They didn’t look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!

Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay vessels. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him.

He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

It’s like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. It isn’t always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it.

We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.

There is a treasure in each one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.

Known by Heart

I recently heard someone say, ‘What you do for others you do also for yourself.’

I was confused at first, because it almost made me feel selfish. I mean, I love doing things for other people, but my wife told my recently that I always put others first. She was saying that was one of my faults. I needed a little more ‘me’ in my efforts to change the world.

I visit people in nursing homes, retirement and senior centers. I love to spend time with older folks. It’s like mining for gold. They have been down the road ahead of me and I want to know what they have learned so that I make the right choices.

A speaker at a conference I attended many years ago asked, ‘Where do you think the most valued real estate is in the world.’

Hands went up and offered big city names, resorts in development and exotic locations around the world.

‘Nice try,’ he said. ‘The most valuable real estate are the cemeteries. Buried there are dreams that might have changed the world, perhaps cures for major diseases that were never developed and people who could have made a difference in your life but never took the chance. What happened? No one listened.’

I listen, I encourage, but I don’t realize the value of what I do or understand the impact.

It was during a recent visit to a new facility that I realized that my efforts made a difference in the lives of those I met.

‘How are you today?’ I heard someone ask.
I turned around and scanned the room to see who was speaking.

‘I heard the voice of an angel!’ I said smiling. ‘Where are you?’

Then I heard a faint laugh in the corner.

‘Oh, there you are. I am so lucky to find you today,’ I said.

She was seated on an old Victorian looking couch. It reminded me of the furniture in my mother’s living room. We could only sit on it when company came. So, I jumped at the opportunity to sit next to this wonderful woman. Her hair was white and neatly brushed with an occasional wave gently reflecting the light from the nearby window. Her hands crossed on her lap resting on top of a knitted pink blanket that covered her legs. Two practical looking walking shoes peeked out at the bottom and a wooden cane was placed within her reach nearby.

‘It’s good to see you,’ she said. ‘I love when you come to visit.’

I was a bit surprised to hear her say that. I had never been here before. Maybe she was transferred her from another place and she remembered me.

‘It’s good to see you, too,’ I said.

‘You always brighten my day,’ she added.

I sat quietly for a moment trying desperately to remember if we had met before. I really love to remember names. It makes people feel good when you remember.Then I asked, ‘When was the last time I saw you?’

She turned her head away for a moment and then looking back at me, she said, ‘Oh, we’ve never met, you and I. But I know you by heart.’

How curious. We never met, but she knows me by heart.It must have been the look on my face that caused her to explain further.

‘There is something about people like you. You are the ones who carry the world on your back. When you walk in a room you make us smile. When you touch my hand I can feel the warmth in your heart. People like you bring flowers, music and sunshine. Even when you bring nothing at all, you leave so much behind’

I was humbled and at a loss for words.

‘My, I thank you for saying that,’ I said. ‘When you said, I know you by heart, I naturally felt like I must have met you before.’

‘I know you by heart, because I always did the same thing. I always put others first,’ she said.

There it was again. ‘Putting others first.’

Then I shared, ‘I heard someone say – what you do for others you do also for yourself.’

‘I am living proof of that,’ she said. ‘You see, after all that time, after all that caring it all came back to me. People like you now visit me and I know you by heart.’

Lk 6:44 “For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.”

 

Message Light

Seeing one of her neighbor’s children playing alone, a woman asked him where his brother was. ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘he’s in the house playing a duet. I finished first.’

Too many people find themselves playing a duet alone. Too many people are lonely. They rise alone in the morning, they eat meals alone, they watch television alone and retire alone in the evening. They have too few friends and family to share their lives with. It feels as if they should be playing a duet or an ensemble and everyone else finished first. They are more than alone; they are lonely.

‘I don’t have an answering machine,’ one man said.

‘I live alone, and I’m sometimes told that I’ve missed calls when I’ve been out. You should really get an answering machine,’ my friends tell me, but I won’t. I don’t want to come home to find the message light not blinking. I don’t want to know with such certainty that no one tried to get in touch. It’s worth missing a message or two to avoid that.’

A folktale tells of a monarch long ago who had twin sons. There was some confusion about which one was born first. As they grew to young manhood, the king sought a fair way to designate one of them as crown prince.

Calling them to his council chamber one day, he said, ‘My sons, the day will come when one of you must succeed me as king. The burdens of sovereignty are very heavy. To find out which of you is better able to bear them cheerfully, I am sending you together to a far corner of the kingdom. One of my advisors there will place equal burdens on your shoulders. My crown will one day go to the one who first returns bearing his burden like a king should.’

In a spirit of friendly competition, the brothers set out together. Soon they overtook a frail and aged woman struggling under a heavy weight. One of the boys suggested that they stop to help her. The other protested: ‘We have a burden of our own to worry about. Let us be on our way.’

So the second son hurried on while the other stayed behind to help the woman with her load. On his journey to the kingdom’s edge, the same young man found others who needed help. A sightless man who needed assistance home; a lost child whom he carried back to her worried parents; a farmer whose wagon needed a strong shoulder to push it out of the mud.

Eventually he did reach his father’s advisor, where he secured his own burden and started home with it safely on his shoulders. When he arrived back at the palace, his brother met him at the gate and greeted him with dismay. ‘I don’t understand,’ the brother said, ‘I told Father the burden was too heavy to carry. How did you manage it alone?’

The future king replied thoughtfully, ‘I suppose when I helped others carry their burdens, I found the strength to carry my own.’

Isn’t that the secret of living with loneliness? When we find others who need help with their burdens, we also find the strength to carry our own!

Get busy helping others, even if it is nothing more than making a phone call or writing an encouraging note, and you’ll find that your burden of loneliness will become easier and easier to manage. And soon you’ll be too happy and busy to even notice if the message light is blinking.

In Closing:

These are uncertain times. Many are having their own little war within. Others are trying to live free in an over-taxed country with new and sometimes unfair rules. The playing field is not equal for some. This is where you come in. If we don’t stand with each other against a common (domestic threat) then wherein is our freedom? The message light is in fact blinking….the message is for you; and someone needs your help. Get busy. Be there- if you’re not part of the solution, you are probably causing the problem. If you can’t shoot, carry bullets (figuratively)- but do something for someone today; do something for the Lord.

 

Gift Exchange

‘I just got back from the gift exchange,’ she said.

‘Did someone give you something you didn’t want?’ I asked.

‘No, not at all. I got more than I thought I would,’ she replied.

‘So you had too many gifts?’ I asked.

‘Oh, no. You could never get too many,’ she said so seriously.

‘Then, I’m confused. You were returning a gift that you received and didn’t want because you had more than you could use, but never enough of whatever it was,” I said. Of course I had no idea what I just said, but it was what I heard.

‘No. I wasn’t returning anything. I was giving it away,’ she said.

I felt like I was watching an episode of ‘I Love Lucy’ with Ricky Ricardo and Lucille Ball.

‘Let’s start over. Where were you?’ I asked.

‘I went to the nursing home. I volunteer to visit people there,’ she said.

‘You said you went to the gift exchange.’

‘Oh, I see your problem. That’s what I call it, the ‘Gift Exchange’ – I go to the nursing home to spend time with some of the most fascinating people. I’m only in my 40s. These people are in their 70s, 80s and older. They have so much to offer. Their stories are special gifts to me. Their life experience and lessons are so incredibly valuable. I learn so much from them,’ she said.

‘So, that is the gift exchange?’ I asked.

‘Yes, I give them my time, they teach me about life.’

What an incredible way to look at it. All these years that I have been writing, all these people that I have met along the way were all a part of the ‘Gift Exchange.’

Why not join us. Take time to speak to someone at the Mall today. Make time to stop and say “hello” to someone in your neighborhood. Attend a church function and meet new people. Visit a local nursing home. Phone someone.

You have so much to give and so much more to get.

The ‘Gift Exchange’ is open 24 hours a day.

There’s always one near you!

1 Pet 5:5 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

Back on the Seat

It had coaster brakes and only one gear. I got it used. The twenty-inch, black frame showed its age. It was scratched and nicked from years of use, but I didn’t care. It was mine now.

My tricycle stood by the front steps of our house – forgotten. In the front yard, I held the handlebars, swung my right leg over and settled myself onto the seat. My legs weren’t long enough for both to touch the ground at the same time. I leaned to one side – one foot supported me. I looked around, made sure no one was watching and kicked off. My feet reached for the pedals and began to pump.

After a few wobbly yards, I fell off, and landed on my shoulder in the grass. I jumped up, brushed myself off, got back on and fell again.

A week later, I rode in circles around the yard, always to the left. I didn’t wobble or fall. I was steady, as I followed the beaten trail I’d created in the grass. The wind created by my movement cooled my sweat stained face.

I was free and I was flying.

‘Michael!’ Mom called. ‘Supper is ready!’

I turned toward the front steps, wobbled and fell to the ground. I didn’t know how to go straight or to the right. I’d learned to travel in circles to the left.

One day I became brave. ‘Mom, I’m going to take my bike to Grandma’s.’

‘Are you sure?’ she asked.

‘I can do it, Mom.’

Grandma lived at the bottom of a short hill from our house. I’d walk there often, but when I sat on my bike at the top of that hill, it seemed much higher than I remembered.

I put my feet in the pedals and started to roll. My speed increased. I pushed back on the pedals, braking to a halt, stepped off and walked my bike to the bottom. On level ground, I got back on my bike and pedaled to Grandma’s.

‘Did you see me, Grandma? I brought my bicycle! Did you see me?’

Grandma hugged me. ‘I saw you, Michael. You did well, but I saw you walk your bike down the hill. It’s scary not having control, but you’ll get it right. You’re getting so big. When you’re older, you’ll be bicycling all over the place. I’m proud of you.’

‘Do you have any cookies?’ I asked.

She laughed. ‘You know where they are.’

I ran to her pantry. In the cupboard was a plate filled with fresh baked cookies – my favorite.

Grandma was right. I did learn to go left, right and straight. A year later, I was bicycling all around the neighborhood.

At twenty years old, I left home. It was a lonely time in my life. Mom wasn’t there. It was time to learn how to turn again.

I married and I stumbled. There was someone else to think about – new turns to stumble through.

I’ve floundered through life. When I thought I had it right, life pushed me in another direction. I’ve wobbled, stumbled and fallen. Each time I fell, I got up, brushed myself off and turned around the obstacle.

Each time I think I’m on a straight road, life throws a turn in front of me.

I may fall, but I always climb back on my seat.

That’s what we do; get back on the seat….life is hard at times, but looking back, we can see there are lessons as well. Maybe you have a lesson to share. If so, share it with me, share it with others. 🙂